The Fence Post obituary: Donald Stanley Rutledge
Donald Stanley Rutledge, 80
Jan. 5, 1938 – Sept. 25, 2018
Donald Stanley Rutledge was born on Jan. 5, 1938, on the family farm northeast of Yuma, Colo., to Howard Stanley Rutledge and Mary Brand Rutledge in the house built in 1894 that still stands today. He was the youngest child with two bossy, older sisters, Doris and Shirley. He grew up helping his parents with a variety of chores including feeding beef, working on the dairy and raising chickens. While in high school Don was involved in the Future Farmers of America, and served as a state officer in 1956.
While still in high school he showed his entrepreneurial spirit by helping switch the farm from dryland to irrigated ground. Don also participated in sports including football, basketball and track.
After graduation, Don went to Colorado State University and majored in animal husbandry. While in college he spent three years serving his country in the Colorado Air National Guard. There he learned to fly, a hobby he enjoyed throughout his life. In 1962, he graduated with a bachelor’s degree and later that year married the love of his life Judy Storatz. He just couldn’t get over those beautiful blue eyes. They moved back to Yuma that year to help on the family farm.
On his return, Don helped expand the farm by developing center pivot irrigation and expanding their dairy operation. He was a key innovator in engineering and producing a rubber tire sprinkler system, and was a founder of Yuma Manufacturing, which built sprinklers. Don also purchased additional acres to expand the farm.
Don and Judy built a beautiful home south of Schramm. During these years Judy and Don gave birth to three children; Brett Brand was born Jan. 2, 1967; Roc Matthew was born on Jan. 5, 1971; Spring Ann was born on March 29, 1975.
Don and Judy raised their children with an appreciation for agriculture. In 1992, Don and Brett built one of the first large scale pig farms in Yuma County. In 2000, he and Roc developed a pig mortality composting business.
Don served on a number of boards and committees. These included the National Corn Growers Association, a charter member of the Colorado Livestock Association, chairman of the Colorado Ag Commission, and served on the Colorado FFA Foundation Board. Don was integral with his support of the CSU Animal Science Building and the CSU Center for Ag Education. In 2014 he was inducted into the Colorado Agriculture Hall of Fame.
Some rememberances about Don:
We all know Don could take a nap anywhere. His son-in-law Jeff Stutzman remembers fishing with him at Lake McConaughy. They were out on the lake when a nearby fisherman kept looking at them and then started laughing, saying “I think your partner has a fish.” Jeff looked back to see Don fast asleep with his pole almost bouncing out of the holder.
Don was comfortable with everyone. When Spring invited friends to stay the night, Don would commonly run down the hallway to the bathroom in his tighty whiteys. And Don knew no strangers, at least not for long. He could sit by someone and know their entire life story in 10 minutes flat. He and Judy would make it a point to stop by to see friends during their travels, visiting long lost cousins and old fraternity brothers that they hadn’t seen for years. Fraternity brother Al Horning added, “We will all miss the big man with the deep voice and the loving and tender heart.”
Don was an extra dad for several kids that lost their father early. Friends of his children who lost their dads commented that Don was like a dad to them, including his nephews and niece. He had high expectations for his kids and nieces and nephews.
Don was an unwavering supporter of CSU athletics. He drove for hours to attend events at home or away, and supported the Rams financially.
Don also enjoyed traveling to his grandkid’s events. He would drive for miles to see his grandkids sporting events, church Christmas programs, 4-H events, celebrate birthdays, etc. He would drive anywhere to attend anything related to his family or CSU … and then drive another 30 miles to save 10 cents on gas. While getting pulled over by the State Patrol after a sporting event, Don told the officer, “I’m trying to get home before I fall asleep.”
Forest cherished the memories of talking sports with grandpa. Miles favorite memory is sharing popcorn and M & M’s mixed together while watching movies or sporting events.
Some of his favorite sayings include:
One boy is worth one boy of work, two boys is worth half a boy, three boys is worth no boy at all.
The older you get, the smarter your parents will get.
Whenever someone got hurt he’d ask where it hurt, and when you told him, he’d say, “That’s a long way from your heart.”
Don was notorious for backing into things, and then blaming you for parking in the wrong spot behind him.
Donald Rutledge passed away on Sept. 25, 2018. He is preceded in death by his parents; Howard Stanley Rutledge; mother Mary (Brand) Rutledge; his wife of 55 years Judy (Storatz) Rutledge; his sister Doris (Rutledge) Mekelburg; his sister Shirley (Mayfield) Rutledge. He is succeeded in life by his three children, Brett and wife Kristy with sons Forest and Miles; Roc and wife Mellani with daughter Marguerette and son Rayghen; Spring and husband Jeff Stutzman with daughters Addyson and Emily along with many nieces and nephews.